Americans' views of the Muslim world realities and fallacies
Sulehri, Waqas A.
Robinson, Glenn E.
Lober, George W.
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The 9/11 terror attacks prompted a large number of public opinion surveys in the Islamic world by Gallup, Pew, Zogby, and others seeking to understand the level and nature of muslim antagonism toward America. Far less attention has been paid to public opinion surveys of Americans concerning their views of Islam, Muslims, and Muslim countries. This thesis sorts through the surveys and presents some surprising findings. First, while American views of Muslim have generally been rather unfavorable, the events of 9/11 did not have a marked change on those views. Moreover, Americans tend to make distinctions between Muslims as individuals, toward whom they have a relatively favorable view; Muslim countries, toward which they have a varied view; and Islam as a religion, toward which they have the most negative view. In addition, the polls show that misunderstandings about Islam and Muslims are pervasive among Americans. This thesis argues that the American Muslim community must play a leading role in correcting such misperceptions. In the absence of a sustained effort, there is little in the survey data that would lead one to believe that a change in perception is imminent.
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